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Students, Spiritual Care of.

A. General.

1. Prominent in the beginning of Am. higher educ. was a determination to integrate religion with higher educ. Hundreds of denominational colleges were est. (for examples see Ministry, Education of, VI–VIII; Protestant Education in the United States). Rise of state univs., beginning with the U. of Virginia (founded 1819 at Charlottesville), and progressive secularization of higher educ. led some local congs. and voluntary agencies to provide spiritual service for student mems. at secular colleges and univs. before 1900.

2. Gen. denominational support of student work did not come till early in the 20th c..

3. Main religious student organizations have included Canterbury Clubs (Episc.); United Student Fellowship (United Ch. of Christ); Roger Williams Clubs (Northern Baps.); Bap. Student Unions (Southern Baps.); Meth. Student Movement (Wesley Foundations in state institutions and Meth. fellowships in Meth. and indep. colleges); Westminster Foundation (Presb.); Gamma Delta (see C 9); Luth. Student Assoc. of Am. (organized Toledo, Ohio, 1922); Beta Sigma Psi Luth. Fraternity (founded 1928 as Conc. Club); Newman Club (RC); Pax Ramana (RC internat. student movement founded 1921 Switz.); Hillel Foundations (founded 1923; supported by B'nai B'rith, a Jewish service organization founded 1843 NYC).

4. Christian student socs. in Am. began early in the 18th c. and antedate all other voluntary student organizations. The first student YMCAs were organized at the state univs. of Michigan and Virginia 1858.

5. Major interdenom, student movements: World Student Christian Fed. (founded 1895 in Swed. by representatives of Am. and Eur. SCMs [see Student Christian Movement]; the US section is the Nat. Student Christian Fed. [see Student Volunteer Movement, 4]); Student For. Missions Fellowship (formerly Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship; began in Eng. 1910 in the withdrawal of the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union [see also Student Christian Movement] from the Brit. SCM; the name Student For. Missions Fellowship was first attached to the fellowship that arose 1936 among students in Christian colleges and Bible institutes in Am. and was absorbed 1945/46 as a dept. of the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, which later became the Student For. Missions Fellowship); Campus* Crusade for Christ Internat..

B. Lutheran in America.

1. The General* Council of the Ev. Luth. Ch. in N. Am. placed a pastor in Madison, Wisconsin, 1907 to serve Luth. students at the U. of Wisconsin.

2. The ULC developed and expanded the work begun in its merging bodies.

3. The Am. Luth. Conf. created a Student Service Commission.

4. The NLC organized a Student Service Commission 1945 (gave it divisional status 1949), took over the student work of its constituent bodies 1946. See also American Lutheran Conference, The, 4.

The Nat. Luth. Campus Ministry of The ALC and the LCA is administered by the Lutheran* Council in the USA

See also A 3, C.

C. Mo. Syn.

1. Before 1923 (see 3), spiritual care of students depended on individual initiative. A. T. E. Haentzschel* began campus work at the U. of Wisconsin, Madison, 1920 under call issued by a joint bd. of the S. Wisconsin Dist. and the Wisconsin* Ev. Luth. Syn.; a bldg. containing chapel, parsonage, and soc. rooms for students, and located near the campus, was dedicated 1926.

2. Under impetus provided by the Student Welfare Committee (later names include Student Service Commission; Commission on Coll. and University Work; Campus Ministry) other Dists. began similar work.

3. 1923 and 1926 syn. resolutions expressed concern for spiritual care of students, but lack of financial means delayed action for yrs. Reuben W. Hahn, who had served as university pastor at the U. of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, since 1929, served as Ex. Secy. for the work 1940–68. Secy. for Campus Ministry: W. J. Fields 1970–76; Edward A. Schmidt 1977–.

4. The program: soul conservation, reclamation, and winning; training for Christian service; Christian impact on the campus through evangelism and establishment of Luth. chairs of religion.

5. Since May 1, 1968, campus ministry has been part of the Bd. for Missions.

6. In most cases campus work is done by pastors of coll. community congs.; full-time campus pastors are called where conditions warrant it. Formation of student assemblies (or congs.) offers opportunity for students to prepare for service in congs. they will join later.

7. The Luth. Collegiate Assoc. (defunct ca. 1970), conceived as an extension of the student service program, was formally organized 1945 as an assoc. of persons with coll. training, to enlist talents of educ. laypersons for ch. work.

8. Nat. and regional study assemblies for Luths. on coll. and university faculties and staffs have been held, partly to consider and meet spiritual needs of students.

9. Gamma Delta, Internat. Assoc. of Luth. Students, was founded 1934 Chicago, Illinois, by W. A. Maier* et al. The Gk. letters gamma and delta here stand for gnosis (“knowledge”) and diakonia (“service”) and reflect the origin of the assoc., which succeeded the Student Dist. of the Walther League (with its program of Christian knowledge and service; see also Young People's Organizations, Christian, II 3), which had been formed 1928. Aims: “to foster thorough study of the Bible; to disseminate the Scriptural philosophy of life; to train Lutheran students for Christian service to God and their fellowmen; to maintain and increase Lutheran consciousness on the campus; to maintain and increase local and intercampus fellowship among students of our faith.” Gamma Delta supports student-related for. miss. projects. RWH

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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Content Reproduced with Permission

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